There we were – journalists and experts from different countries, discussing, exploring a common problem: Desertification, Drought and Land Degradation (DDLD). It was eating up our land, pushing us at equal risk of losing food security. Yet there were absolutely no words on how we could fight it – together!
|Feeling the moving sand: the sand is constantly shifting, which means, the effort to create a green cover must also remain constant.|
I was in Inner Mongolia from 22nd to 25th. If you didn't know this already, the land of Genghis Khan is actually divided into two parts: outer and inner Mongolia. While Outer Mongolia is an independent, sovereign country, Inner Mongolia is actually a province within China. I was in the latter part, in its biggest city called Chifeng (locals pronounce it as ‘Chrifong’) where the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) organized a media workshop on desertification, drought and land degradation (DDLD - an issue that affects over 1.5 billion people globally) in collaboration with the government of China and Xinhua News Agency. Altogether, there were journalists and experts from 10 Asian countries.
On the first and the third day of the event, activities were held indoor. We heard a team experts throwing light on a number of matters related to DDLD: the what, why, where, when and how. But the 2nd day was set aside for a field trip. The trip took us to three specific spots where the forestry department of Mongolia, the locals and the federal government of Beijing were running some ‘combat desertification’ projects with the best possible tool: aforestation. The three projects sites were Qihetang (pronounces ‘Xihetang’) n Linxi County, Sudu in Wengniuta County and Taipingdi in Songsan County.
Everywhere we heard the same story: